1. The Culture
Catalunya is an autonomous community with four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lledia, Tarragona. Barcelona, the city, is the capital of Catalunya. There are many aspects that make Barcelona unique, especially when considering the history of Catalunya and the remaining language and cultural differences that sets the community apart from the rest of España. Barna (the appropriate nickname for the city - not to be confused with Barça, which references the soccer team FC Barcelona) has eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is the tenth-most visited city in the world, and has a plethora of points of interest to explore.
2. The Bakeries
I'm not much of a foodie, but I would be lying if I said I didn't make a daily visit to a bakery. My favorite go-to snack between lunch and dinner was a croissant de jamón y queso a la plancha (a pressed sweet croissant with ham and cheese) and café con leche (which was more like milk and sugar with a splash of coffee whenever I made it)! My fave bakery was Aquí Hi Ha Molla (on Carrer Sardenya 51) which just might have the best and friendliest customer service of any shop in Barcelona and was home to the most amazing cronut, cutest cookies, and freshest treats! Also, you have to have a bikini (a pressed white bread sandwich with a slice of ham and cheese) because those are beyond tastyyyy even though it doesn't sound like much!
3. The Language
Catalunya's, the Balearic Islands', and the Valencian Community's co-offical language (and Andorra's only official language) is Catalan. While I did study abroad in Barcelona for three months, I wasn't really able to pick up much of the language besides the customary: bon dia (good day), adéu (goodbye), bon viatge (bon voyage - aka always on your metro ticket), sisuplau (please - you can learn this one quickly when someone is yelling it to you while calling you an obscenity; yes, I'm talking about you, German), and sortida (exit). I know some people found that the language sounds too harsh but I was completely fascinated by its Castellano-French-Italianish(?) crossover!
4. The Fútbol
Now, I don't know about y'all, but I grew up playing, watching, and obsessing over fútbol and was a Real Madrid fan for a brief period of my life (ages 10-14; all I can say is David Beckham), but have learned to love Barça even more while after taking a course on the club at UPF. Needless to say; Messi, Neymar, Suárez, Iniesta, Piqué, etc. etc.
5. The Steps to Heaven
Monserrat is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life. At an elevation of 4,055 feet, Monserrat is a mountain with a monastery at its top. You do not need to book a tour, just make your way over via the RGC and prepare for a 1-1.5 hour ride. The steps are away from the church so make sure to grab an epic picture to fascinate your friends with before leaving!
6. The Architecture
Many of Barcelona's buildings and landmarks are unique because of their extremely intricate detailing. The mix of gothic and modernism causes a lot of second looks as you pass by two streets that look extremely different to one another.
7. The Passion
I didn't travel much of España so I'm not sure if this applies to all of the Spanish, but I love the way Catalans speak Castellano. You will hear a lot of "vale," "guapo/a," "si, claro," and other words with an abundance of enthusiasm. From what I noticed, there was a lot of love for their people, professions, community, and culture that was particularly contagious. Maybe it was because I was in Barcelona when the referendum was taken on 9N, but I just loved seeing so many people passionate about their home and culture!
8. The Street Performers
From massive bubbles to acrobatics to extreme rollerblading (yes, you read that right), Barcelona has a plethora of street performers who are out there trying to do their thang in the most creative ways possible!
So, you get the highest peak in Barcelona, place a church at the top of it, and then create a theme park and you got yourself Tibidabo! This place has an amazing view of the busy city and is filled with pure happiness (and sugary sweets, lots and lots of sugary sweets)!
10. The Dancing
NOTE: Flamenco dancing was created in Andalusia (Southern España) but there are plenty of establishments in Barcelona that have amazing dancers who will take your breath away!
11. The Labyrinth
Found in Parc del Laberint d'Horta, get lost in the amazing labyrinth, or just race your friends and then scare them when you find your way out first (not that I did that or anything).
12. The Water Activities
I've never lived near a beach, so getting on a board and paddling far away from civilization sounds like the plot of a horror movie, because you know, sharks are in every ocean, right? But going so far out away from absolutely everything was somewhat peaceful when I didn't think too hard about it! If you need help learning, or finding where to rent a paddle board, definitely join this Facebook group.
13. The Street Art
There's no doubt in my mind that you've heard of the famous siestas in España, but not everyone in the country takes them. However, most stores do close for the day between 3-5 PM to make it home for dinner. Luckily, when they do, you get to see some of the most beautiful art work on their security doors. Sometimes the art is graffiti, completely unrelated to the store, or just plain insane, but it makes for colorful night walks around the block.
This is the artist that took inspiration from nature and created some of the most stunning buildings ever. Barcelona is filled with his imaginative architecture that is truly unforgettable! His Sagrada Família church has taken decades to complete and will not be finished with construction until 2026, nearly 150 years after it initially began.
15. The Economic Ability To Travel
Barcelona's airport has a wide array of airlines, including the ever-cheap RyanAir. Why is this a reason to visit Barcelona? Because once you're done exploring this unique city you have the ability to travel to the many other amazing cities of the world!
Have you visited Barcelona and have other reasons to recommend it? Comment them below! If not, until next week...